Despite the move to inside sales during COVID, most companies continue to find that face-to-face sales continue to be a critical aspect of business growth. In fact, 71.2% of the salesforce is made up of face-to-face selling. There is good reason for this:
- 65% of outside sales reach their quota, which is 10% more than inside sales reps.
- The close rate for in-person meetings is around 40%.
- Prospects are twice as likely to convert with in-person meetings.
- Face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than over email.
Even as the world becomes more digital, there is a need for the benefits that in-person sales can provide companies. Here is what you need to know about face-to-face selling to master this more personal form of reaching prospects.
What is Face-to-Face Sales?
Also called “personal selling,” face-to-face sales is when a business sells its product or service in-person to the customer. Used in both B2B and B2C, this kind of sales helps build a human connection by selling on a personal level.
Where face-to-face selling takes place varies. For some industries, this happens while attending trade shows or scheduling one-on-one meetings. For others, it can mean door-to-door sales. Wherever it takes place, though, face-to-face sales helps prospects emotionally connect with a brand and helps companies stand out from the competition.
Even businesses that rely mostly on inside sales will find certain circumstances where personal sales are more appropriate. Some of the best times to choose face-to-face sales includes:
- Complicated and high-value goods and services
- Making preliminary contact with a critical target prospect
- Fortifying crucial, long-term relationships
For those who have high-value, long-term products or services, face-to-face selling is critical. It can help them make the connections necessary to get loyal customers that are profitable to businesses.
Benefits of Face-to-Face Sales
Even with the increase in eCommerce, social media, and doing business online, there are still a number of reasons that meeting with prospects in person has a place in sales. Some of the top benefits include:
- Creates a human connection
- Eliminates distraction
- Earns trust
- Provides education
- Gains a deeper understanding of the customer needs
- Provides a chance to demonstrate complicated products
- Eliminates miscommunication
- Utilizes body language to increase sales
- Communicated shared values
In-person meetings have something that even Zoom meetings cannot compete with: human connection. The use of body language, small talk, and clear communication help make sales more effective than other mediums. Face-to-face sales are especially important for companies that sell physical goods, such as medical devices and building materials. Reps for products such as these need to demonstrate them to their buyers in person.
Top Face-to-Face Sales Tips
When it comes to mastering in-person sales, having the right techniques and research in place can make or break your next meeting. Here are some face-to-face sales tips to help you perfect your in-person meetings:
In many ways, inside sales is a numbers game. If a prospect isn’t a good fit, a sales rep simply hangs up and dials a new number or messages another potential lead.
However, face-to-face sales are more time-intensive. Setting up a meeting time, driving to the appointed place, and taking the time to sit down with a prospect means that more time is lost. It is not easy to make up this time when an in-person meeting fails.
While it’s impossible to make sure an in-person meeting is a sure-fire sale, qualifying prospects is critical to ensure that you don't waste time on customers who are clearly a poor fit.
Take time to chat on the phone or over email with a prospect before scheduling a meeting. Talk to them about their needs, challenges, and opportunities to see if your product or service is a good fit for them. Qualifying also helps you create a pitch that meets their needs and relates to them on a much more personal level before meeting with them.
Do Your Homework
Once you’ve had the chance to qualify your prospect and discover their needs, preparing a successful presentation is critical. Every prospect is unique and has different challenges and goals that will affect how they approach your product or service. This should factor into how you approach meeting with them.
Sometimes, sales reps worry that it will come off as forced or unnatural if they overly practice their meeting talk and pitch beforehand. In reality, though, the opposite is true. The more you plan what you want to say and practice the best way to word it, the more likely it will come off as smooth and natural.
Analyze Your Meetings
After your meetings, analyze how they went. Note what worked well and where your presentation and pitch could use improvement. The more honest you can be with yourself, the more you can perfect your face-to-face sales. It is especially important to take notes immediately after your meeting while everything is still fresh in your mind.
In Dr. Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, the Stanford researcher found that people tend to take on one of two mindsets that weeds out the successful from those who struggle harder than necessary. A fixed mindset are those who think that all talent is innate and a person either has them or doesn’t. Those with a growth mindset, on the other hand, always seek to learn, challenge themselves, and understand that any skill can be developed.
Likewise, sales is not always an innate talent. Those who struggle with their in-person meetings can grow in their proficiency. Even the most talented “natural” salesperson can stand to learn more and develop their expertise.
By taking the time after a meeting to analyze, learn, and improve their in-person sales skills, any rep can continue to grow and become more effective in their approach. Try a new technique or process if you find your pitch seems to fail to connect with your prospects.
Concentrate on Developing Relationships
The critical differentiating factor between inside and in-person sales is that field sales are more personal and build long-term relationships. Although that makes it more labor-intensive than inside sales, it also helps create loyal customers that are more willing to invest in higher-dollar items.
An in-person meeting is not a one-and-done venture. Instead, it’s part of an overall strategy of building relationships with potential clients. Focus on forging a relationship with them and becoming a trusted advisor.
Technology can play a vital role in fostering these relationships. For example, remembering personal details is critical for building a relationship, but it is also challenging when juggling multiple clients over months or even years. However, keeping detailed notes in your CRM can make keeping tabs on a client easier. Simply looking up their information before a meeting or glancing quickly while on a phone call can help you create personalized encounters.
Become a Consultant
Your passion for your business must show through in in-person meetings. However, it’s just as important you get across to them that you care about their business too. Position yourself as someone who is there to help them grow and become more effective.
Instead of concentrating on only making another sale, help them with solving their challenges. Your expertise can help further your relationship with them and build trust with your prospect. Discuss their business, goals, and challenges and become more like a consultant than a sales rep.
Spend Time Selling with Tech Tools
One of the top problems that reps run into is wasting time on activities that keep them from being face-to-face with clients. One of the best ways you can ensure that you can maximize this time is by harnessing technology.
Everything from auto-populating data to auto check-ins to finding the most effective sales route can reduce time not spent selling. Face-to-face sales is only effective if a sales rep is actually with a prospect. By cutting down on inefficient uses of time, you can become more effective in selling to prospects.
Face-to-Face Sales Script Template
Unlike inside sales, face-to-face sales script examples are almost impossible to create. That is because it needs to be a conversation rather than a set script. You should be taking cues off of what your prospect wants to discuss to have an effective discussion. Your industry, business, and prospect will shape your conversation.
However, there is a general template to successful sales conversations that ensures you hit all the topics that concern your prospect:
You should always start your face-to-face meeting by introducing yourself and explaining what you do. In-person meetings can be time-consuming, and you are taking your prospect away from their workday. While a bit of small talk before the meeting can help melt any ice, it’s also important that you jump directly into who you are and what your company specialized in.
An example of an introduction could be: “My name is _______, and I help companies find the best talent to build top-caliber teams.”
Getting straight to what you can offer helps build trust. The longer you take to mention what it is you are selling, the more suspicious it will make your prospects.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
While doing your research can help you come prepared to a meeting, take some time to ask thoughtful questions to understand what they want and need in their own words.
Too often, sales reps come to a meeting with a sales pitch that suggests they know everything about the prospect’s business. Instead, open-ended questions can indicate that you have researched their business and want to delve deeper with them.
The right questions will help open up prospects and start a dialogue rather than a monologue where you lay out what you have to offer. It shifts the focus to the candidate, their business, and how you can help them reach their goals or avoid their challenges. It can shape how you approach your sales pitch and make them more interested in what you have to offer.
Some examples of thoughtful, open-ended questions could be:
- Your website mentions that your business __________, what resources are you currently using to carry that out?
- It appears that your target market is _____________ based on your business model. Does that sound correct, or do you have different target demographics in mind?
- I noticed that your business has been operating for ____ years. Has your business changed over time? How so?
By asking questions based on your research, you can ensure more candid answers that can help develop your approach.
Your demo should be directly related to how they answer the questions you ask. It can create a jumping point for you to show exactly how you can help them.
Depending on what you are selling, a demonstration is usually the most effective way to help the prospect understand what you have to offer them. Whether walking them through the product or giving them a chance to use it themselves, link the benefits of your product or service to the pain points they mentioned. Come up with several benefits that can help them reach their goals or minimize their pain points as a business.
This is often where prior research comes into play. If you know your target audience and have researched your prospect, you should have some benefits in mind to point them out.
Answer Questions Directly
Once you’ve said your part, many salespeople dread opening up the time for prospects to ask any questions. Reps are entering the unknown, and candidates will rarely ask generic questions that you can find online.
The best way to approach questions is to answer them in the most straightforward way possible and avoid waffling. Take your time to answer their inquiries concisely, which will help build their confidence that you know what you’re saying. Have any key figures related to their or your business figured out ahead of time so that you can answer any questions about either right away.
For example, they may want to know how much your business has sold in the past year or the average return that companies like theirs see. While it may be impossible to know all the questions they may ask ahead of time, learning the basics can allow you to answer those with confidence.
Close with Confidence
Closing is a critical part of any sales relationship. It is where you turn interested prospects into paying customers. However, timing is important. At the end of your conversation, it may not be the right time to ask for a sale. However, the end of any discussion should mean taking the next step forward and some sort of ask.
How you close your conversation should be guided by how urgent their need is. If they have an urgent need for your product or service, seek to close the sale. However, if their need is not urgent, seek a way to serve them instead. See how you can help further their business and get them into your community as a prospect. It can help keep the relationship open and make more sales in the future instead of turning off a prospect that wasn’t going to buy anyways.
Let your prospect know that you were grateful for the opportunity to sit with them and discuss their business needs. No matter how the meeting went, take some time afterward to follow up. It helps build your relationship with them and keeps you at the top of their mind.
Even if your meeting did not go as you planned it, keep the channels of communication open. It can come back in the future when they end up needing your product.
Dominate Face-to-Face Selling
When done correctly, personal selling is one of the most effective methods to convert larger clients. It allows you to reduce any miscommunication and harness more personal selling to connect with prospects.
Face-to-face sales takes effort and forethought to master. By doing your homework, working on the client relationship first, and continuing to contact afterward, you can improve your in-person selling and convert long-term, loyal customers.